New York has changed a lot since I moved here. While the city will always have its challenges, the living has become a bit easier in the past year with a surge in the availability of certain favorites.
For instance, when I visit the grocery store I can now add a few bottles of Topo Chico to my cart. If I have a craving for tender smoked brisket, there are several places within walking distance to find it. While breakfast tacos and pillow-soft kolaches may still be a train ride away for me, just the fact that they now exist in New York is cause for celebration. And for many, perhaps the most welcome addition has been Shiner Bock.
Shiner’s ubiquity in Texas reflects just how beloved it is, and it’s the rare place that doesn’t offer it. So it was always something of a shock to Texans who’d just moved to New York to discover it wasn’t here. “Where is the Shiner?” they’d often ask. Because of this, its arrival a couple of months ago was met with much fanfare and excitement. Not only did the news make headlines but also when you’d go to the grocery store, you’d see Texans taking pictures of the bottles just because it was so novel to see it on shelves.
Its appearance couldn’t have come at a better time, as nothing beats a cold beverage during the hot summer. Though I’m also partial to frozen treats to help me stay cool, which is why I took a bottle of Shiner and instead of drinking it, made a batch of ice cream with it instead.
Of course, I realize that for some this pairing may seem strange but it’s not completely uncharted territory. And if you’ve ever been to Amy’s in Austin, then you may have even had their version of Shiner Bock ice cream. As for myself, I’ve long wondered how it would be since friends would tell me how delicious it is. Would it be odd and taste like a beer slushy or would it be sweet with just a hint of wheat and hops?
Without knowing exactly what I was doing, I ended up making several versions—one with only heavy cream, Shiner Bock, and sugar, and then a couple of variations with a more complex yolk-based custard. After several batches, the one with a dash of salt and brown sugar ended up being the favorite. It had a creamy, caramelized flavor and while the beer wasn’t obvious, its malty presence did make itself known.
Now, in German the word “bock” means male goat. Because of this, I briefly considered making the ice cream with some goat’s milk, but decided that might be a little too funky. But in a nod to the name, in one round of testing I did serve the Shiner Bock ice cream topped with cajeta, the Mexican goat’s milk caramel, along with a handful of chopped peanuts for a satisfying salty crunch. It was a hit.
While I realize this combination might not be for everyone, it is definitely worth a try for the adventurous. And if you’re a fan of both bock and frozen desserts, with Shiner Bock ice cream, you’ll have the two favorites combined into one, along with a fine reminder of home.
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup Shiner Bock beer
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cajeta, for serving (optional)
Crushed peanuts, for serving (optional)
In a large saucepan, stir together the cream, Shiner Bock, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Place over medium-low heat and cook just until the mixture is warm—do not let it boil—about 3-5 minutes.
When the cream is warm, scoop out 1/4 cup of the mixture and stir into the beaten egg yolks until well combined. Slowly pour the cream and egg yolks back into the pot and while stirring, continue to cook until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 4 minutes. Again, do not let it boil. Remove the cream mixture from heat, stir in the vanilla, and then cool covered in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
After the cream has cooled, freeze in your ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chill in the freezer for 4 hours for a firmer ice cream or serve immediately for a softer ice cream.
If you like, serve topped with warmed cajeta and crushed peanuts.
If you don’t have Shiner Bock available to you, you could substitute another brand of bock beer. A stout or even root beer could work well, too. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, here are some tips from The Kitchn, including my favorite from David Lebovitz where you take the cooled custard, place it in a freezer-safe container, and then after 45 minutes stir it every 30 minutes or so until it’s whipped. This method will take about 2-3 hours.